Put Your Skatepark On The Beach!

At a meeting held in Santa Monica, the California Coastal Commission voted unanimously to approve the construction of a public skatepark at the beach in Santa Barbara, California. Not only was the vote unanimous, but three of the commissioners went out of their way (breaking protocol) to speak out in favor of the skatepark, seemingly passing on the message that anyone who didn’t support the skatepark was out of touch with the times.

In fact, the commission’s decision will affect the development of skateparks in several other California cities, essentially paving the way for other skateparks to be designed and built within the 1,000-foot corridor along California’s coastline that is the domain of the committee.

The message to youth groups and others helping coastal cities develop parks: Put your skatepark on the beach! Santa Barbara officials claim construction on the park will begin in February or March and hopes for an opening on July 4, 2000, during the city’s annual Fourth of July parade.

The 300,000-dollar park will be located at the delta of Mission Creek, just southeast of Stern’s Wharf, close to the intersection of State Street and Cabrillo Boulevard – the busiest intersection in the entire city. The city pledged 150,000 dollars for construction, with the challenge to the private sector to raise another 150,000.

In an effort that could provide a model for other cities, Santa Barbara’s Youth Council (non-skaters coordinated by the city council and the parks and recreation department) has led the fund-raising activities, collecting more than 25,000 dollars with car washes, bake sales, a Halloween haunted house, and other activities. Local foundations and businesses have also been very supportive, and when park supporters met last a total of 115,000 dollars had been raised. Recently, a pledge for the balance was received from a local Santa Barbara skateboard company that is requesting anonymity.

(The California Coastal Commission is based in San Francisco, but maintains offices in most coastal California cities. For more information about their organization, look in the front of the phone book under “government agencies,” call information for their number, or check their Web site at www.ceres.ca.gov/coastalcomm/web/